Fr. Schrader's Weekly Column

​For previous weekly columns, please see the bulletins listing.

Fr. Schrader's "The Year of Faith A Bible Study Guide for Catholics"  Handouts:

Books are still available at the parish office for $4.

 Session 1 of 6      Session 2 of 6      Session 3 of 6
 Session 4 of 6      Session 5 of 6      Session 6 of 6

July 26, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

        Today is our monthly Welcome Sunday, so we welcome all who may be visiting us on this Sunday.  We encourage you to make yourself known to our staff if we can answer any questions for you today.

        One good piece of news is that we reached the halfway mark this past week for the livestreaming system we are having installed.  It was within the one-month period during which the estimate of $26,889.73 was to be honored, so the deposit has been made.  It will be a few weeks before the equipment is received and then a few until it is fully installed, but this will ultimately be of great assistance to our homebound and those still unable to attend Mass in person.  Thank you so much.

One matter of urgency that we share with you concerns our school.  Back in mid-March before COVID-19 shut all schools down, we were actually ahead of last year in early registrations for this Fall.  However, all then came to a screeching halt.  Currently, everyone is awaiting Governor Cuomo’s decision (to be given by August 7th) as to whether schools will open in September in New York State.  Hoping that they are and with plans in place if they do, our St. Ambrose Academy is ready to open its doors.  However, after a conference call of our staff with diocesan school personnel, it was noted that our current enrollment of 57 students at this typing does not consist of the required critical mass for our school to reopen.  That being the case, a letter was sent home to all parents of our students informing them that we need now to re-start the enrollment process so that we can achieve at least an enrollment of 80 for the coming year.  Such a challenge was issued to parents at St. Agnes School in Avon and St. Mary Our Mother School in Horseheads awhile back, and BOTH of them were successful in achieving needed enrollment to open.  We want to be in their ranks!

I share this with you for two reasons.  First, if you have children between Pre-K 3-year-olds and 5th graders and value St. Ambrose Academy as the only parochial school east of the river serving the city of Rochester and East Irondequoit, please consider enrollment at this time.  No matter what other area schools do this Fall, our plan when the Governor gives the go-ahead is to offer in-person instruction full days, five days a week.  With our large classrooms and small classes, we will not have to resort to a hybrid approach:  your children will come to school everyday, not have to stay home for remote distance-learning some days so others can attend (this can wreak havoc for working parents).  We even have before and after school care, free breakfast and lunch, tuition assistance if needed, and all the enhanced cleaning and sanitization required.

Second, if you do not have children in that age range, perhaps you might consider a financial gift to the school that could be used to help some family that wants to register but is unable for lack of funds.  Indeed, how lively we all respond to this current challenge may determine the very existence of our school.  It’s been here for 97 years and has survived the Great Depression, World War II, a fire in the school itself, 9/11, the financial crash of 2008 and much more.  COVID-19 will be conquered by a vaccine, but we don’t want it to conquer our school in the meantime.  The 100th anniversary of our school is only 36 months away, and I’m truly hopeful a grand celebration can be had.  Thank you for whatever you can do as we move forward in great hope!

—Father Schrader

August 2, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

        St. Joseph is a saint special to many of us.  He was the loving, supportive foster father of Our Lord who, together with Mary, raised Jesus in quiet little Nazareth.  He is also the patron of a happy death.  It was on his feast day this year back on March 19th that we did our first Facebook Mass from St. John’s chapel as all churches and schools were then closed.  It was on his feast day back in 1977 as I was completing my 21st year of Catholic School education—K-8 at Blessed Sacrament where the Sisters of St. Joseph taught me, 9-12 at St. Andrew’s Seminary where friend Joseph Sandy was a classmate, Freshman-Senior at St. John Fisher College where the late Fr. Joseph Trovato was chaplain, and 1st through 4th Theology at St. Bernard’s Seminary where Fr. Joseph Brennan was rector—that the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education published a document titled The Catholic School.

In paragraph 62 of that document sub-titled “The Catholic School as a Service to the Church and to Society,” we find it stated that the Catholic school community “is an irreplaceable source of service, not only to the pupils and its other members, but also to society. Today especially one sees a world which clamors for solidarity and yet experiences the rise of new forms of individualism. Society can take note from the Catholic school that it is possible to create true communities out of a common effort for the common good. In the pluralistic society of today the Catholic school, moreover, by maintaining an institutional Christian presence in the academic world, proclaims by its very existence the enriching power of the faith as the answer to the enormous problems which afflict humanity. Above all, it is called to render a humble loving service to the Church by ensuring that she is present in the scholastic field for the benefit of the human family.”

Our St. Ambrose Academy has rendered such “humble loving service” to the children of this parish for the past 97 years.  As was noted last week, COVID-19 has caused our enrollment process for this coming school year to fall short.  The school will close (only 3 years shy of its 100th anniversary) if we do not receive at least 23 more registrations by Friday, August 14th.  When St. Agnes School in Avon and St. Mary Our Mother School in Horseheads were issued the same challenge, they met it and they are staying open.  It’s all up to us how our beloved St. Ambrose will do.  If you haven’t yet registered your Pre-K 3-year-olds through 5th graders or (if you have no such children) donated contributions or scholarships to help those who want to register but have been caught short by COVID-19, now is the time to act.  August 14th (Friday of next week!) is the deadline, and it cannot be extended.  Thanks for whatever you can do.

Sunday, we begin the second half of Ordinary Time.

Monday, happy birthday Parish Accountant Laurie Brown!  It’s also Canada’s Civic Holiday, and the Full “Sturgeon” Moon at 11:59 A.M.

Tuesday’s the feast of St. John Vianney, patron of us parish priests.

Wednesday, see pre-dawn Mercury between Venus and the Sun.

Thursday is the feast of the Transfiguration!

First Friday, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Ambrose is 9:00 A.M. until 12:00 Noon Benediction and 12:15 Mass.  It’s also Governor Cuomo’s deadline for the decision on school-openings in NY.

Next weekend starts the final half dozen days to save our school!

—Father Schrader